BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore area leaders are speaking out on the chaos in Ferguson.
Tracey Leong has their reaction.
Their main concern is the policing, how they’re handling the protests and looting. They say right now, there is a big divide that is continuing to grow between the police and the public.
Violence in the streets of Ferguson is raising concerns in Baltimore.
“This is what happens when there is no dialogue, there is no trust, there is no faith in the people who are supposed to be protecting your community,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Many echo the same sentiments as the mayor, including 34-year law enforcement veteran Neill Franklin.
“They are not part of the community. They come in for eight hours every day, police and go home and without that constant relationship, we are not going to make much headway,” Franklin said.
And there’s also criticism on the style of policing they’re seeing in the streets.
“We went way above what we should have. It didn’t look like police responding; it looked like we called in the military,” Franklin said.
Franklin says this is what intensified the violence. Both the mayor and Franklin believe that the tension between police and the community is not just an issue in Ferguson, it’s an issue we are seeing all over the country.
“There’s no need for small police departments to have access to this military equipment,” Franklin said.
Franklin says law enforcement isn’t treating their neighborhood like one they belong to—and that’s difficult to change overnight.
“You can’t play catch up when it comes to building strong relationships between the police and the community,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Franklin also said it is going to take some major policy changes at the federal level in order to see a difference.
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